Welcome to Relaxed Redefined ~ a better, healthier way to care for chemically relaxed hair. This is a personal hair journal created to share easy, do-at-home tips and techniques that have made my hair stronger and longer. I hope you'll learn something here that will enhance your healthy hair journey or better yet insprire you to start one. Happy Hair Growting!

6.22.2011

Relaxer Recap - 2nd Relaxer of 2011

I got a relaxer touch-up a little over a week ago and it went off without a hitch, since my scalp was miraculously healed by the Atlantic Ocean, there wasn't even a twinge of burning. Now that I know how much my Seborrheic Dermatitis was affecting my relaxer process I'm going to work extra hard to make sure my scalp is in tip-top shape before my next touch-up.

I did not get a trim during my original appointment because I was attending a formal event that evening and wanted my hair to remain curly after the roller set. But I did stop by to see my stylist yesterday and had her dust my ends, which is all it seems to need (yay!).

I had a lot of new growth for just 13 weeks post, but because of "The Hair Cut" and the trim, I'm still at least an inch away from APL. It only makes me a little sad to think of where my hair might have been after that stretch if I hadn't need "The Hair Cut" but I've made peace with it and since I'm aware of the mistakes I made before, I know I won't be making them again.

I don't know how long this next stretch will be, but I'm excited to be on pace for only 4 relaxers this year. I know I can make it a minimum of 12 weeks, but every time I set an extra long time frame at the outset (16 weeks : / ) I never make it, but I'm aiming for as long as possible as always. I don't have any major events coming up (that I'm aware of) that I'd want to relax for so I'm just going to see how it goes. Summer is such an easy time to stretch because I know I can co-wash as much as I want when my new growth starts to dry out as it tends to do toward the end. I'm also looking forward to doing another Henna treatment on my hair, hopefully in the next few weeks. But in the mean time I'm going to stick with my regimen of co-washing once per week and doing a deep condition wash once per week, usually co-wash Wednesday or Thursday and DC on the weekend. That routine seemed to work well during the last stretch, so if it ain't broke...

6.17.2011

Product Review: Jane Carter Solution Moisture Nourishing Shampoo

Aahhh shampoo, that basic staple of hair care, its hard to find a good one. And as a person who gave up "traditional" shampoo, meaning sulfates, some time ago, its rare to find one that I can rave about. But the truth is I love Jane Carter Solution Moisture Nourishing Shampoo, sulfates and all. I've probably had this shampoo for about a year, but have yet to use the entire bottle. When I first purchased JCS MNS I tried to use it as my staple cleanser, but for me it was too strong for routine use--I need something gentler on a twice-weekly basis, so it sat on my product shelf untouched for months. Then one day I needed to clarify my hair, my normal co-wash wasn't going to be enough for the product build-up in my hair at the time, so I decided to give JCS MNS another chance. And I'm so glad I did, this stuff is an amazing clarifyer, and it smells amazing too, it has a pretty floral scent. There are a only a few instances when I clarify my hair, after flat ironing when I need to remove the silicones from the heat protectant; when I'm preparing for a protein treatment so the treatment can really penetrate my hair and when I've been heavy on the product, but lazy on the co-washing and my hair is really weighed down. Each time I've used this JCS MNS to clarify, it leaves my hair clean, but never stripped with just one lather and after I rinse my hair always feels and smells so good.

For me this is an important lesson in knowing which product is good for a particular task, I love JCS MNS as a clarifyer, but it didn't work for me as a regular cleanser. Knowing my hair products is just as important as knowing my hair. And being able to give my hair exactly what it needs, when it needs it to keep it healthy and growing is what this journey is all about.

Jane Carter Solution Moisture Nourishing Shampoo Ingredients: Deionized Water, Certified Organic Aloe Vera, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Glucoside, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, PolyQuaterium 7, Glycol Stearate, Glycerin, Wheat Protein, Wheat Amino Acids, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Panthenol, Caprylic Acid, Glycine, Potassium Sorbate,Citric Acid.

Available at Target and janecartersolution.com for around $8 for an 8 oz bottle, considering how long one bottle can last (if used as a clarifyer) its a great price.

6.15.2011

Seborrheic Dermatitis and Salt Water

My name is MrsT and I have Seborrheic Dermatitis, which is just a fancy clinical term for severe dandruff and dry scalp. I was first diagnosed by a Dermatoligist as a teenager and have dealt with chronic bouts off and on for years since. I've had multiple prescription shampoos and ointments, tried all sorts of homemade concoctions and am very careful and aware of any product that I apply directly to my scalp. My scalp responds or doesn't respond to these interventions with varying degrees of success, but it eventurally it comes back. Its hard to explain the level of painful dryness and itching that Dermatitis can cause, along with severe flaking to the point of bleeding and skin discoloration. That's right my scalp has flaked to the point of bleeding and this flaking has left scars that would not fully heal leaving the skin around my hairline about 3 shades lighter than the rest of my face. In Seborrheic Dermatitis the normal bacteria that live on the scalp (all over our bodies actually) overfeed off the natural oil produced by our scalps (called sebum--and any other oil that is applied) and in turn causes the scalp to severely dry out (the "moisture" has been eaten away)
this dryness triggers the skin cells on the scalp to turn over and slough off very quickly--hence the extreme flaking, and the rapid cell turn over prevents new skin from regrowing quickly enough to fully heal the affected areas. Needless to say my extreme scalp issue makes getting a relaxer a very touchy issue, the best course of action probably would be for me to stop getting relaxers all together as the unhealed areas of my scalp easily burn leading to more scaring.  However, (call me crazy) I 've always been willing to to endure the irritation and a few burns in exchange for straight roots, especially since I started stretching my relaxers further and further apart. That may not make sense to others, but its just the way its always been for me, so I deal with it.

And then one day it all stopped. I've been hesitant to write this post for fear of jinxing my current remission, but I'm so excited about the current state of my scalp I can't keep it to myself anymore. Since returning from my vacation in the Virgin Islands earlier this year, I have had zero scalp issues. No itching, no extreme dryness, and best of all no flaking severe or otherwise, absolutely none at all! I'm not sure what happened, but I think it may have had something to do with the salt water, or maybe it was all the humidity, I really can say for sure. All I know is that my scalp is healthy for the first time in a long time, and I love it. I got my relaxer touch up last week with zero irritation or burning, and not one scab or scar. I really can't remember the last time that happened, but I am so grateful. I haven't changed any of my staple products or routines since being in the Atlantic Ocean so the water is the only trigger I can think of. I've found a few correlating anecdotes online from other Dermatitis sufferer's but no clinical research or documentation. All I know is if my dermatitis should return, I know the first thing I'll be looking for--if not a trip to the beach certainly a homemade salt water mix. In the mean time I'm going to enjoy fully enjoy a summer of a healthy scalp and growing hair.
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